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Nationwide Plan Needed For Stranded Migrants : Congress Spokesperson Surjewala Seeks To Intervene In SC's Suo Moto Case

Radhika Roy
27 May 2020 8:07 AM GMT
Nationwide Plan Needed For Stranded Migrants : Congress Spokesperson Surjewala Seeks To Intervene In SC

Congress Leader Surjewala Files IA In Suo Moto Matter Regarding Migrant Labourers

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Congress national spokesperson Randeep S. Surjewala has filed an Intervention Application in the suo moto Writ Petition No. 6/2020 wherein the Supreme Court took cognizance of the problems and miseries of migrant labourers who had been stranded as a result of the national lockdown imposed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The IA comes a day after the Apex Court Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan decided to take suo moto cognizance of the deplorable condition of the migrant workers highlighted in newspaper reports and media reports which "have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on-foot and cycles from long distances".

The IA, filed on behalf of Surjewala by Advocate-on-Record Sunil Fernandes, states that the "Applicant has studied several ground reports received from the INC part workers from across the nation and thereupon suggested various measures to the Government of India, in battling economic and health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, on several occasions, the Applicant has also suggested specific measures to the Government of India for alleviating the present plight of the migrant workers stranded all over the country due to the nation-wide lockdown".

The primary issue raised in the IA contends that the Parliament of India has not been able to conduct any session since March 2020, as a result of which the Applicant and his party, Congress, have been unable to raises issues with respect to the sufferings of the migrant labourers. Additionally, as there has been abject failure on behalf of the Government of India in formulating a joint committee to address the miseries afflicting the migrant labourers, the measures suggested by the Applicant, or anyone not belonging to the ruling dispensation, have not been considered.

"Therefore, in light of the aforementioned and urgent redressal required by the stranded migrant labourers, the Applicant is constrained to approach this Hon'ble Court with regard to measures for helping the stranded migrants".

Moreover, by way of the IA, the Applicant wishes to apprise the Court of certain pertinent measures that may be adopted by the Government to alleviate the plight of the stranded migrant workers, such as:

1. Formulation of a nation-wide action plan, to identify and accurately tally the total number of migrant labourers who continue to be stranded. The exercise needs to be carried out at the District and Village level for preparation of these lists.

2. Setting up of reception centres and facilitation centres at District and Village level for receiving labourers and facilitating further travel of the labourers to their native districts/villages.

3. Formulation of a nation-wide action plan on the basis of the information provided by the labourers, to mitigate the hardship that they faced during their journey.

4. Formulation of a scheme to provide adequate food, medicine and shelter to the stranded migrant labourers.
5. Implementation of financial reliefs on an urgent and immediate basis, and a public announcement detailing the reliefs with timelines and step-wise procedure of release, which must be shared with the public and the migrants.

6. Formulation of urgent and immediate schemes for providing gainful employment to the migrant labourers, with additional and specific schemes, which take into consideration the education of the migrant labourers' children and the general well-being of their family members.

7. Immediate launch of awareness campaigns for migrant workers to explain all benefits being provided by the Government to alleviate their plight and struggles during the nationwide lockdown.

Yesterday, vide a suo moto order titled "IN RE: Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers", a Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah issued notices to the Union of India as well as all State Governments and Union Territories to submit their responses regarding the "inadequacies and certain lapses" in the measures taken and to look into the urgency of the issue.

"In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of the society needs succor and help by the concerned Governments especially steps need to be taken by the Government of India, State Governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend a helping hand to these migrant labourers".

The Court sought for the assistance of the Solicitor-General in this regard and directed for the matter to be listed on May 28th.
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